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Rebels? No, Simply Scientists

PLoS Biology
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060242
  • Book Review/Science In The Media
  • Biochemistry
  • Developmental Biology
  • Ecology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Genetics And Genomics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Virology
  • Biology
  • Literature


plbi-06-09-22-L.pdf PLoS Biology | www.plosbiology.orgPLoS Biology | 1824 September 2008 | Volume 6 | Issue 9 | e242 Book Review/Science in the Media Rebels? No, Simply Scientists Michel Morange The problem of creativity is common to the arts and sciences. What distinguishes geniuses from ordinary mortals? In the arts, from Mozart to van Gogh, creativity has frequently been associated with the artist’s opposition to the society of their time. A good artist is a rebel. Paradoxically, whereas science might appear as a progressive rational construction of new knowledge, the same relation has been postulated between rebellion and scientific creativity. There are many historical accounts of how scientists who made decisive breakthroughs saw their ideas rejected, and became “rebels.” Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology presents a collection of essays by different authors on biologists who were, in one way or another, considered rebels [1]. What do they have in common? Is it possible to find biographical clues to the forging of this spirit of rebellion? This book can be appreciated from three different points of view. The first is simply to consider it as a rich collection of studies of scientists who played a significant, although sometimes marginal, role in the development of the life sciences in the 20th century. The contributions of some of them have already been studied, but there are new figures sketched here such as Carl Woese, who discovered a third branch of life, Motoo Kimura, who radically modified our vision of evolution, and Raymond Arthur Dart, who dramatically revised the scenarios on the origin of modern humans. The originality of the book is also in the comparable size and format of the presentations. A good balance has been reached between a short biographical introduction and a longer presentation of the original work accomplished and the obstacles and opposition encountered. The authors of

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